Explore GEN family of websites, social media experiences, blogs and more.

Unleashing ideas.
Strengthening startups.

Back to search results
    Date submitted
  • 07-Jan-2018



Sulis’ vision is to manufacture and distribute a series of solar ultraviolet light-induced sterilization (SULIS) devices in rural areas of developing nations affected by neglected tropical diseases and in developed regions affected by natural disasters. Current water sterilization methods are often expensive, inefficient, infeasible for large-scale use, rely on the use of toxic chemicals, or are highly specialized. Sulis is introducing devices which operate under a broad range of conditions, can sterilize water at scale more effectively and at lower cost than current methods, and do not rely on existing infrastructure. Based on recent groundbreaking research initiatives, the Sulis technology is unparalleled in its versatility, scalability, sustainability, and its ability to generate employment in the communities that we aim to serve.

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

On the international scale, we intend to begin operations in the Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh, India. Central Madhya Pradesh is an ideal location given its generally hot, dry, and sunny climate and extended daylight, so solar ultraviolet light will be effectively harnessed. Furthermore, during the monsoon season, our water container will serve as a rainwater collection vessel, so that the rainwater, which is usually potable, will mix with the sterilized water already in the container, thereby decreasing dependence on a contaminated water source and exposure to pathogenic species (Ayyar and Raju). In addition to selling the device on an individual or family basis, we intend to work with the local government, the village panchayat, to coordinate the implementation of our device on a large scale, to maximize the success of our device in its intended cause as well as the financial feasibility of its implementation. Initially, our device will be installed village by village. We will eventually expand our enterprise beyond the Sagar district into other Indian districts. Within the United States, we intend to begin operations in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is an ideal location due to its immediate demand for sterilized water. In addition, the island’s hot and sunny climate and extended daylight ensure that solar ultraviolet light will be effectively harnessed. We will sell our device in rural areas where they are needed most; specifically, we will target areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters. We will then expand our enterprise into the mainland United States, with an emphasis on disaster prevention rather than disaster relief.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

The primary value generated by our device is ultimately for the rural populations who implement and use our device. By sterilizing the water, we prevent the spread of NTDs, particularly trachoma. Trachoma is particularly troublesome since it is most common in children and often progresses to permanent blindness if untreated. For many rural families, the price of antibiotics is too high, which places an extreme financial burden on the family or prevents access to treatment. In the latter case, the disease is allowed to progress to blindness, which permanently incapacitates the child (Agarwal, et al). Yet, in either scenario, the result is stunted economic productivity for the rural areas. So, by reducing the incidence of NTDs, which are particularly debilitating, we reduce the extreme financial stress on individuals and families residing in the afflicted regions, and thus preventing the steady spiral into poverty. Consequently, we reduce the number of incapacitated workers, and therefore increase the productivity of the local economy (Lenk, et al; “World”). As the local economy improves, it has a ripple effect on the economies of nearby districts, causing those local economies to improve as well. The improved economy further entails a higher standard of living and improved infrastructure, which will help further combat NTDs. Considering that our intention is to use the Sagar district as a starting point, and expand our coverage to other districts in Madhya Pradesh and eventually other states in India, the improvements in regional economies, particularly in rural areas, will ultimately coincide to generate an uplifting of the national economy as a whole. Thus, it is evident that our device will benefit the rural populations in the long term by allowing them to break free of the vicious cycle of NTDs and progress towards economic advancement. In the developing world, the primary value generated is to restore access to a basic necessity when existing infrastructure becomes damaged or largely inaccessible. As we saw in the most recent hurricane season, millions in the mainland United States were without food, water, and shelter. Although this infrastructure has been restored, progress has been considerably slower in Puerto Rico, where the vast majority of the island’s 3.5 million inhabitants are still without clean water. In these scenarios, our device provides sterilized water to communities in need, especially when the damaged infrastructure will require extensive repairs. To continue, our device will generate jobs in our target regions. Production of the device will stimulate the metal and plastic industries at a local level. There will be an increase in the amount of job openings in these metal and plastic companies because the increased demand for these materials that will be spurred from the metal and plastic used in our innovation would facilitate the creation of additional local jobs. The increased level of employment in these industries would become a catalyst for economic growth, which would be measured by looking at the number of employees in these industries before we start doing business with the other companies and comparing that with the number of employees that are present after our business relationship has matured. The resultant economic growth would also have a domino effect such that it would allow for further investment towards our project and other medical resources that would be used towards combating NTDs. If we are successful in our goal of reducing the incidence of NTDs through water purification, the effects of widespread waterborne illnesses in thinning the working population would be reduced, which would increase the amount of able-bodied people who can work (Lenk, et al). This increased productivity and the resultant economic stability would help reduce the frequency of NTDs, and these interrelated effects would contribute towards a long-term reduction in sickness and increase the economic stability of our target regions.